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Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar         Classification: Non-Profit Leadership“Clarification before Classificati...
Before classification, clarification! I am the Co-Leader and Director ofCommunications for LiveWorkPlay, a charitable orga...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar           Classification: Non-Profit Leadership     MA Applied Linguistics     ...
That’s me on the right with my best friend Sean Malone, who is one of the few classmates from my Nepean HighSchool days th...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership
Julie and I met through mutual friends back in university, she’s 5 years younger than I am, but my level of maturitywas an...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership
I’ve listed a couple of personal passions, both of which I share with Julie, being a tennisfan is one of them, and I am th...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership
I love photography and videography, these are some recent examples. We have ahuge population of Northern Watersnakes at th...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar  Classification: Non-Profit Leadershipwww.thebeeteam.tv
On a final personal note, as some of youheard on CBC Ottawa Morning last Friday,my wife and I have applied to appear onAma...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership          Work: The Early Years
My career history in brief: I always had a little bit of entrepreneurial spirit one ofmy first jobs was my own enterprise ...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership“Nothing?”                       I’ve Got A...
By fluke I ended up on the career path that changed my life, when I applied for apart-time job working with teens and adul...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership
I graduated university in 1991 without any clear plans and I ended up as ateaching assistant in the Community Living class...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership
In the previous photo the teacher I worked for at Queen Mary StreetSchool reconnected with me after I finished teacher’s c...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar                 Classification: Non-Profit LeadershipLiveWorkPlayFounded 1995(V...
I’ve got to make a very long story short to tell you about LiveWorkPlay. It started out asa grassroots volunteer initiativ...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership
What’s it all about? Basically we’re working with one of the most excluded andmarginalized populations in our community, s...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar         Classification: Non-Profit LeadershipBeyond LiveWorkPlay: Giving Back T...
I’ll focus on four of my community service areas of interest which are related to mywork at LiveWorkPlay but which I explo...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar     Classification: Non-Profit Leadership              EMPLOYMENT & DISABILITYP...
With respect to employment, I do advocacy and policy work, often in association withCommunity Living Ontario and the Canad...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar           Classification: Non-Profit LeadershipThe primary work of a Board of D...
I’ve served on a lot of boards over the years, for charities, community associations, andother non-profits and I’m very co...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership                           Youth have not a...
One of the consequences of the current status of non-profit management is also that weare failing to attract the interest ...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar        Classification: Non-Profit LeadershipSocial Media for Social Change     ...
A related topic to engagement of young people is social media. If a non-profitorganization wants to discourage potential y...
Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar       Classification: Non-Profit LeadershipMy objective - a community where all...
What do I get out of Rotary? In addition to the obvious linkages I’ve spoken aboutalready, my world is very small, whereas...
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Keenan Wellar Classification Speech Rotary Club of West Ottawa, March 5, 2013

A classification speech is an opportunity for a Rotary member to talk to their peers about their personal and professional interests, their community service, and how these interests and experiences relate to their Rotary membership.

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Keenan Wellar Classification Speech Rotary Club of West Ottawa, March 5, 2013

  1. 1. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership
  2. 2. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar Classification: Non-Profit Leadership“Clarification before Classification” Helping the communitywelcome people with intellectual disabilities to live, work, and play as valued citizens!
  3. 3. Before classification, clarification! I am the Co-Leader and Director ofCommunications for LiveWorkPlay, a charitable organization in Ottawa.LiveWorkPlay is a corporate member of Rotary Club of West Ottawa, and thefocus of that relationship is on Rotary at Work an initiative of districts 6290,6400, 7070, 7090 and now 7040 (our district) to bring together employers andemployees with disabilities. LiveWorkPlay is most frequently represented atmeetings of this club by Jennifer Bosworth, our Manager of EmploymentSupports, and Ali Sochasky, our Coordinator of Employment Supports. And lastbut certainly not least the reason it says Co-Leader in my title is because I amalso a Co-Founder of the organization, the other founder being Julie Kingstone.That was back in 1995. Six years after that in 2001, Julie and I realized we’dnever have time to meet anybody else, so we went ahead and got married. Sohopefully that’s not too confusing, and I’ll get back to some of this later.
  4. 4. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar Classification: Non-Profit Leadership MA Applied Linguistics And Discourse StudiesProfessional Certificate in PublicSector and Non-Profit Marketing
  5. 5. That’s me on the right with my best friend Sean Malone, who is one of the few classmates from my Nepean HighSchool days that I am still close with today. Sean looks pretty much exactly the same today but with less hair. I ampleased to say that although I too have less hair and it has changed colour, I am mostly pleased with the rest ofthe changes and that I look a little less like a skinny gorilla.After high school I started out in the Department of English at Ottawa University, quickly realized that theexpectations of prose writing were far too fanciful for me, and after switching to the Department of History Ifound my way. I was largely fascinated with the WWII and Cold War era. I flirted with the idea of staying in thefield but through happenstance in my employment life that I’ll talk about later, I ended up at Teachers College andcompleting my Bachelor of Education and Ontario Teacher Certification.Once again through career happenstance I ended up on Carleton University campus, and literally stumbled uponthe MA Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies program, which I completed part-time over the course of about6 years. It’s often assumed that such a program is for those who are studying languages, but in fact I was studyinglanguage usage, and in committing to working for LiveWorkPlay full-time in 1997, the focus of most of myMaster’s program was related to communication in non-profit organizations and social services systems.Starting in 2009, I started getting a lot of requests to for workshops, seminars, and speeches in the non-profitcommunity, and I realized that what most people wanted from me had to do with non-profit marketing, or whatsome call social marketing. That was very flattering except I wasn’t so sure I knew what I was talking about, so Icompleted a professional program at the Sprott School of Business in 2010 which more than anything helpedconfirm I’d been on the right track. This contributed to the decision in 2012 to more clearly define the areas ofresponsibility for my co-leadership at LiveWorkPlay, and I became the Director of Communications while Juliebecame the Director of Operations. More about work later.
  6. 6. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership
  7. 7. Julie and I met through mutual friends back in university, she’s 5 years younger than I am, but my level of maturitywas and is lower than hers, so that age gap has never been a problem. Julie came from a background of workingwith underprivileged children and teens mainly at Christie Lake Camp where the remarkable Dr. Dan Offord washer mentor. Soon after meeting Julie I had started working on a non-profit start-up organization and I was doingone-to-one work with a lot of young people with intellectual disabilities, and this was in such demand from localfamilies that I could meet all the requests. I asked a small team of people including Julie if they wanted to join mein delivering these services, and so we ended up working together quite often. The joke I like to tell is that Juliecame over to work on a project and never left.Those are my parents Barry and Marjorie with my nephew Jackson, my nieces Jane and Flannery, and my sisterMarnie. The short story of my parents is they come from Northern Ontario, they met at Cobalt High School. Myfather had a tough start life,: he survived polio and also various serious mishaps including a serious burn whileworking on a pipeline. My father first attended Queen’s before going on to complete his MA and PhD atNorthwestern.My mother worked as an office clerk to support the family and we moved to Ottawa when I was 3 years old back in1971 where my father worked for the federal government in urban and regional planning, before going on to along career as a professor of urban geography at the University of Ottawa. He continues to work and is in frequentdemand as a speaker and consultant.What having these two parents has meant mainly for me I will boil down to two things: 1) I have neverexperienced poverty or experienced worry about personal poverty in any real way 2) I have always understoodthat I was privileged and that I have a responsibility to the wider community. My mother and father were activistsin different areas than my current focus, but being around the constant buzz of community meetings anddiscussions certainly influenced my own view on what it means to be a responsible citizen.
  8. 8. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership
  9. 9. I’ve listed a couple of personal passions, both of which I share with Julie, being a tennisfan is one of them, and I am thrilled to be able to combine that with absolutelyshameless Canadian patriotism now that we have a world top 15 player in Milos Raonic.We most recently followed him down to the US Open in New York City where we hungout with him in the airport. During his tennis match against James Blake, I paired upwith one of the only other Canadians in the crowd and we proudly stood loud andproud against 10,000 Americans.One of our other shared passions is kayaking, which we’ve been doing for about 12years. This has gotten easier since our decision in 2011 to purchase a simple cottage inthe South Frontenac region on North Otter Lake. I’ve been on the verge of exhaustionfor most of my adult life and have always struggled with the entire concept ofrelaxation, but this past summer I truly found some peace and I’ve started to see how Icould learn to enjoy life differently.
  10. 10. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership
  11. 11. I love photography and videography, these are some recent examples. We have ahuge population of Northern Watersnakes at the cottage, and some of them havebecome quite comfortable to share the dock with us. We had an exciting visit fromtrumpeter swans which I understand are making a comeback and may be seen morefrequently stopping over during migration, and of course we’ve got a wonderfulBlanding’s turtle, a lovely white-tailed deer fawn, and a black bear that appears tobe enjoying his senior years.
  12. 12. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar Classification: Non-Profit Leadershipwww.thebeeteam.tv
  13. 13. On a final personal note, as some of youheard on CBC Ottawa Morning last Friday,my wife and I have applied to appear onAmazing Race Canada, if you are fans of theshow, check us out at thebeeteam.tv and ifyou are not fans of the show, I promiseyou’ll get a laugh out of it anyway.
  14. 14. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership Work: The Early Years
  15. 15. My career history in brief: I always had a little bit of entrepreneurial spirit one ofmy first jobs was my own enterprise called The Keen Machine, I cut lawns in thesummer and I clear driveways in the winter. Little did I know but at the age of 14,I was to experience disposable income at a high level that has yet to berepeated.I worked as a server at Britannia Yacht Club, I parked cars at the Chateau Laurier,I taught skating with the City of Ottawa, I did overnight shifts as a security guard,and I worked with kids as an after school program supervisor.
  16. 16. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership“Nothing?” I’ve Got An Idea!
  17. 17. By fluke I ended up on the career path that changed my life, when I applied for apart-time job working with teens and adults with developmental challenges. Ithought the term developmental challenges had something to do with beingeconomically disadvantaged, but it turned out the job actually involved people withintellectual disabilities, which includes for example individuals who have Downsyndrome. I had no experience – in fact, I don’t think I’d ever met a person with anintellectual disability!Somehow I flubbed my way through the interview and got the job. My life waschanged through a single word that might seem rather uninspiring: NOTHING.Because when I started asking individuals with intellectual disabilities about theirlives: their hopes, their dreams, their plans – quite often their response, sometimeliterally, was that they were doing NOTHING. Living at home with their agingparents, no job, no plans, no friends.This motivated me to find out more and think about how I might make a difference.
  18. 18. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership
  19. 19. I graduated university in 1991 without any clear plans and I ended up as ateaching assistant in the Community Living class at Queen Mary Street PublicSchool. Putting kids in a Community Living class (there are many other names for“special needs” classrooms) is basically a gentle way of saying that they are goingto be segregated from the rest of the kids in the school.I didn’t think that was right. So I thought what I would do is become a teacherand try to change the system from the inside, so off I went to teacher’s college,where I learned that although I enjoyed many aspects of teaching, it is not a placewhere there is a lot of room to innovate, at least not at the systems level. I feltclaustrophobic and decided it was not for me.
  20. 20. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership
  21. 21. In the previous photo the teacher I worked for at Queen Mary StreetSchool reconnected with me after I finished teacher’s college. Herespected my reasons for not wanting to go into the profession, and afew weeks later told me that he’d been approached about a businessopportunity to work for a private sector company on a federal projectcalled SchoolNet. He recommended they speak to me.Next thing I knew, I was working for a start-up software engineeringcompany on a major federal government contract operating a nationalinternet network for special education teachers. This sounds great, theonly issue was, I’d never seen the internet. Once again, I somehow gotthrough the interview and got the job. I was one of the few staffmembers without an engineering background, and it was like learning anew language (in addition to having to learn various computerlanguages).It was an exciting two years and very successful from many perspectives,but once again, it knew long term it wasn’t for me. This job providedcognitively challenging and creative opportunities, but spiritually,something was missing, and I knew neither money nor careeradvancement in the IT sector would be the answer for me.
  22. 22. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar Classification: Non-Profit LeadershipLiveWorkPlayFounded 1995(Voluntary)Trillium Foundation 1997(Career)Ministry of Community andSocial Services 2001Major Realignment 2008-2011Increased Volunteer TeamSize By 300%Homes – Jobs – FriendsSocial Capital
  23. 23. I’ve got to make a very long story short to tell you about LiveWorkPlay. It started out asa grassroots volunteer initiative to provide support and advocacy to people withintellectual disabilities and their families, and from there it turned into what may wellbe a lifelong vocation.I started working full-time at LiveWorkPlay in 1997 at the age of 28. I’m 44 now, so wellover half of my adult life has been with LiveWorkPlay. I know many of you hear haveheard a lot about how we bring together employers and employees with intellectualdisabilities, but LiveWorkPlay provides more than employment supports, whichrepresents about 1/3 of our activity.We have a full-time staff of 11, about 120 volunteers, and we work with 80-100 peoplewith intellectual disabilities in any given year. In addition to employment, we help themwith affordable housing and to connect with other citizens in the community to enjoyclubs, courses, classes, recreation, sports, arts, culture, and citizenship. We own 7condominium units in the west end, and we work closely with non-profit housingproviders like CCOC, Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation.Please check out the Spring edition of Ottawa Family Living Magazine for a very nicesummary of the organization and its work.
  24. 24. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership
  25. 25. What’s it all about? Basically we’re working with one of the most excluded andmarginalized populations in our community, some of that is attitudinal, but a lot of itis systemic.We (citizens of Ontario) put a lot of precious tax dollars into keeping people withintellectual disabilities separated from “the rest of us.” We separate them ineducation, vocation, recreation, housing…everything.The result of this of course is a very poor quality of life for those individuals, but also,everyone else in the community is missing out from the value that people withintellectual disabilities bring to the human family, just like how me miss out byexclusion based on economic classes, races, or genders…I’m privileged to know how much better my life is because I have people withintellectual disabilities as part of my routine experience. But most people are nothaving that experience, and we are in essence using scarce resources for anexclusionary outcome that has few benefits and many drawbacks.
  26. 26. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar Classification: Non-Profit LeadershipBeyond LiveWorkPlay: Giving Back To My Community• Employment of People with Disabilities• Non-Profit Governance (Policy Governance)• Youth Engagement in Voluntary Sector• Social Media for Social Change
  27. 27. I’ll focus on four of my community service areas of interest which are related to mywork at LiveWorkPlay but which I explore in other capacities as a volunteer withother people and organizations. These include Employment of People withDisabilities, Non-Profit Governance (Policy Governance), Youth Engagement inVoluntary Sector, Social Media for Social Change.
  28. 28. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar Classification: Non-Profit Leadership EMPLOYMENT & DISABILITYPOLICY MEDIA FUNDRAISING AWARENESS
  29. 29. With respect to employment, I do advocacy and policy work, often in association withCommunity Living Ontario and the Canadian Association for Community Living. In AprilI’ll be contributing to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and SocialDevelopment and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in April as a follow up to therecent release of the report of the federal panel on labour market participation.One of my other roles is generating awareness and I’ve partnered with United WayOttawa as a Focus Area Champion, which I share with Police Chief Bordeleau and 6other volunteer appointees. I had a real thrill at the United Way launch event this yearwith the opportunity to highlight this issue in front of an audience of more than 1000.I participate in media awareness campaigns in print, radio, and television, and of coursesocial media.Last but not least, I also help fundraise for the Belonging To Community focus area andfunding stream of United Way Ottawa by participating in campaign launch events atlocal companies.
  30. 30. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar Classification: Non-Profit LeadershipThe primary work of a Board of Directors should be providing strategicleadership to the organization by serving on behalf of the owners to definewhat human needs are to be met, for whom, and at what worth.Too often the activities of non-profitorganizations and the value of thoseactivities are not measured againsta corresponding change in society. Keenan Wellar“We run a great program” is not alegitimate strategic outcome.
  31. 31. I’ve served on a lot of boards over the years, for charities, community associations, andother non-profits and I’m very concerned about the state of non-profit governance. I thinkwe’ve drifted quite far from our charitable roots which were about solving problems, andinstead we are focused on who writes the cheques, and on the operation of programs(without evaluation that is linked to creating positive change in the community).If I look ahead a decade or so and imagine a scenario where I’ve moved on fromLiveWorkPlay and I’ve taken on a new vocation, I would be interested in working withleaders of non-profit organizations on governance issues.It seems to me that the Rotary four-way test is as relevant and important as ever:Is it the TRUTH?Is it FAIR to all concerned?Does it promote GOOD WILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIP?Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?I believe any non-profit organization should hold itself to standards that have a clear focuson moral ownership and the “ends” that are to be realized for the community. “Providingstrategic leadership to the organization should be the boards key responsibility, by clearlydefining, on behalf of the owners, what human needs are to be met, for whom, and atwhat worth.” (John Carver)
  32. 32. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan WellarClassification: Non-Profit Leadership Youth have not abandoned volunteerism or philanthropy, they are however rejecting the traditional organizational frameworks of non-profit activity in the community. Many charitable organizations refuse to acknowledge or adapt to this behaviour change and there will be consequences to individual agencies and society as a whole.
  33. 33. One of the consequences of the current status of non-profit management is also that weare failing to attract the interest of younger generations. They think and work differently.They don’t like big binders full of paper and big long meetings. It’s not because they don’twant to work hard, it’s because they want to work differently. They also want to have avery clear understanding of how their investment of time, money, and reputation willcreate a tangible result that they understand and support.Many young people are simply ignoring charitable structures and organizing moreinformally to solve community problems. This, of course, is not a bad thing. However, Ibelieve there are benefits to structures (such as long-term sustainability) that could helpyoung people realize their community service goals. And charitable organizations arealways in need of renewal, which simply cannot happen without successfully engagingyounger generations.I know at Rotary Club of West Ottawa there are ongoing discussions about how to engagenew members of all ages, and that RCWO is in fact experimenting with new corporatemembership structures. I’m pleased to be a part of that experiment. I would not be ableto fulfill the traditional requirements of a Rotary member, but I feel that I am benefitingand hopefully finding ways to contribute through the corporate membership.
  34. 34. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar Classification: Non-Profit LeadershipSocial Media for Social Change Most non-profit organizations understand that social media offers opportunities to broadcast information quickly and affordably to a mass audience. What they mostly fail to understand is that it is an opportunity for exponential growth in engagement in social causes.
  35. 35. A related topic to engagement of young people is social media. If a non-profitorganization wants to discourage potential young volunteers and donors, a greatway to do it is to make sure they are not using any social media. I’ve done my ownresearch on this, and it’s pretty close to 100% of people under 30 who will notconsider engagement with an organization that does not use social media. Thismakes sense. They have grown up with smart phones in their hands. It is not anovelty for them, it is a way of life. It is not just for fun. They use social media tolearn and to solve problems big and small.I have seen firsthand the benefits of social media for engaging others in a socialcause or in the pursuit of a social change. I would encourage all non-profitorganizations to learn how to incorporate the use of social media as part of anintegrated social marketing plan. In addition to improving the appeal of theorganization to younger generations, I have heard many times that strategizingabout social media has helped improve global organizational communications.
  36. 36. Rotary Club of West Ottawa  Keenan Wellar Classification: Non-Profit LeadershipMy objective - a community where all citizens are: Rotary’s main• Welcomed objective: service — in the community, in• Valued the workplace, and around the globe.• Able To Contribute
  37. 37. What do I get out of Rotary? In addition to the obvious linkages I’ve spoken aboutalready, my world is very small, whereas at any given Rotary meeting you are goingto hear from people making a difference around the corner as well as around theworld. I am in awe of the international projects related to everything fromeradication of polio in India to safe drinking water in Africa. I am grateful for theopportunity to be a part of it.Lastly, as I look around the room, it is humbling to know that everyone here is livinga life of service to community. It is good to be humbled in this way, so as to resistthe tendency to complacency and to derive motivation from the amazing energyand drive of the Rotary community.Thank you.

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